The fear card
It was February 8, 2006 and Hillary Clinton was addressing a convention of the United Auto Workers Union in Washington, D.C. She accused Republicans of "playing the fear card" to defeat the Democrats, said that the Democrats had lost the last two elections on imagined deficits in their stances on national security issues, and that "[The Republicans] are doing it to us again." She mentioned that a recent Karl Rove speech demonstrated that the message of the Republicans has been "All we've got is fear and we're going to keep playing the fear card."
Oh Hillary, you're so funny. Well, in actuality, national security did play a major factor in the last two elections, and she is right to say that losing this crucial issue was a deathblow to the Democrats. But it isn't paranoia, it's honest concern for a real threat.
Just once, I would like to hear Hillary Clinton or any other elected Democrat say that terrorism is not a threat. Please, just do me that favor, Hillary. Get on national television and tell the nation that Bush made it all up so he could go steal Iraq's oil, build a non-existant pipeline in Afghanistan, and do the bidding of his Israeli masters. Why not, Hillary? All of your friends in the blogosphere are saying it. Your friend Michael Moore (who once described Hillary Clinton as "one hot, shit-kicking feminist babe") has said it. Why don't you say it too?
No, Hillary won't ever say that. She knows it would be political suicide, so she continues to tell the voters that "I take a back seat to nobody when it comes to fighting terrorism and standing up for national homeland security."
This is what grates me about the Democrats. Supposedly, both parties agree that we are in a global War on Terror. Supposedly both parties are equally committed to winning that war. These statements are both ridiculous lies, but we're supposed to humor the Democrats so they don't have one of those "Are you questioning my patriotism?" fits that always get embarrassing for all persons involved. So here's my question: if we all agree that terrorism is a threat, why is it that no one in the Bush Administration is ever supposed to talk about that threat?
Because that's "fear-mongering", and it's the only thing that is keeping the Democrats (who, as we all know, rightfully deserve to win) from gaining monopolistic control of the Congress and White House. Color-coded threat level warnings? Fear-mongering. Talking about bloodthirsty terrorists who want to destroy our country? Fear-mongering. Mentioning that the inmates at Gunatanamo Bay are not Boy Scouts and will return to Jihad the second they are released from prison (as the Democrats want)? Fear-mongering.
You see, only Democrats are ever allowed to talk about terrorism. The Republicans are supposed to shut up if they don't want to be accused of playing "the fear card". Of course, the Democrats can talk about terrorism all they want, flexing their pathetic national security muscles, showing the nation that despite what everyone already knows, the Democrats
are just as tough as the Republicans, and a whole lot smarter too.
For this reason, Democrats can claim America is in more danger because of the Iraq War, not less. Isn't that fear-mongering? Not according to the Democrats, it isn't. And what about the endlessly reiterated claim that terrorists are going to slip a bomb into an American port in the cargo-hold of a ship because the Bush Administration has yet to undertake the utterly impossible task of inspecting every container that comes into this country? Wouldn't a non-biased observer call that
"fear-mongering"? Not according to Hillary Clinton.
The truth is that there are real dangers in the world, and simply mentioning them out loud does not constitute "playing the fear card". In fact, how could the President possibly administer his duties without ever mentioning the words "terrorism" "al-Qaeda" "threat" or (the word that is absolutely never supposed to cross a Republican's lips, lest he be accused of "politicizing a catastrophe") "September Eleventh"? It's kind of like asking Franklin Delano Roosevelt to fight World War II, but never mention the word "Nazi".
The threat of terrorism is real. While both political parties seem to acknowledge that, some unelected members of the Left do not. Michael Moore (seated as the guest of honor next to President Carter at the 2004 Democratic National Convention) is probably one of the famous of those who deny any such threat exisits. In Moore's book Dude, Where's My Country?
Moore writes, "THERE…IS…NO…TERRORIST…THREAT!"
There is no terrorist threat, Mikey? "Well, not until Bush created it out of whole cloth for the benefit of his oil-buddies," is what I think Moore would say. Actually Michael, al-Qaeda (not the only terrorist organization in the world by any means) has attacked US interests either nine or six times, depending on how you count. And the majority of those happened before George W. Bush ever came to office. In essence, there was a War on Terror long before September 11th, we just didn't know it. As time went on, as we ignored the terrorist threat (as many liberals suggest that we do today, in order not "to make more terrorists") the damage and the audacity of the al-Qaeda network increased.
The first three attacks occured in 1992, when al-Qaeda bombed three hotels in Yemen where US troops were staying. Fortunately, no troops died. In 1993 came the masterpiece of Ramzi Yousef--the first attack on the World Trade Center, which killed six and wounded over 1,000. Al-Qaeda was probably behind the 1995 bombing of US Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia, and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers. In 1998, al-Qaeda bombed US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, killing upwards of two hundred innocents and injuring five thousand. They bombed the US Navy's USS Cole
in October 2000. And then of course came the big daddy of all al-Qaeda attacks--September Eleventh. Four airplanes were hijacked and used as projectiles to attack the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. The last plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
And this is not counting the various other attacks that were foiled--the attempt to bomb the Catholic cathedral in Stasbourg, France for example. Nor does this include attacks against other countries, to include the bombings in Istanbul (2003), Madrid (2004) and London (2005). Nor does it include the almost daily attacks on civilians, coalition and Iraqi soldiers, and Iraqi policemen in Iraq.
There is no terrorist threat? The people New York, Washington, D.C., London, Madrid, Istanbul, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia beg to differ.
But no, George W. Bush, the commander of the United States, is never supposed to talk about it. At the same time that he's not allowed to talk about terrorism, he's supposed to be everywhere and know everything about terrorism. He's supposed to know that "Bin Laden determined to attack within the United States" means that Islamic crazies are going to hijack four airliners and crash them into the WTC and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, starting at approximately 8:46 AM Eastern Standard Time.
But the Democrats can talk about terrorism all they want. The Democrats can run off at the mouth that they are the toughest dudes on the block, that Osama bin Laden secretly fears a Democratic White House (when he isn't endorsing John Kerry, that is), that terrorists love
George W. Bush, and that we're all in more danger because of the man who sits in the Oval Office. None of that is fear-mongering.
The Democrats have a fear tactic of their own. It's the ever-looming draft scare that never seems to materialize. I remember the year 2004, probably the most-politicized year of my shot lifetime. All over my campus, there were students handing out fliers to "stop the draft". Stop what
draft? "Well, there is no draft yet, but there will be if Bush gets elected. And he's going to draft girls and college students too!"
Well, it has been 498 days since John F. Kerry (did you know that he fought in Vietnam?) conceeded the election to George W. Bush. The "November Surprise"--a middle of the night executive order from the Bush White House instituting conscription--never materialized. 498 days later, and the Marines still haven't come for my college student sister, dragging her away kicking and screaming to Parris Island and to her certain death in Fallujah.
Anyone from the Left going to apologize? Didn't think so.
It was silly then, and it's silly now too. I was hoping that this particular fear tactic had been sufficently discredited that it would not rear its ugly head again. I was cruising www.michaelmoore.com the other day, and he had it posted. The draft is coming back, said Michael. Act now to impeach Bush, resist, register as a conscientious objector, yadda yadda yadda.
There are a number of reasons why the draft scare was preposterous. The first reason is that the President of the United States does not have the authority to declare a draft by executive order. That's a function of Congress. Nice try though, guys. Also, we didn't need the troops. Yes, our forces were spread thin, but they were adequate. And the last and most important reason why this talk of Bush and the draft were absurd was that the only people talking about a draft were liberal anti-war Democrats, while a Libertarian-minded Texas Republican by the name of Ron Paul had sponsored a bill to abolish the Selective Service System all together.
The sponsor of the draft bill, Representative Charles Rangel, was a liberal anti-war Democrat, who openly admitted that his bill was rooted in anti-war sentiment. His bill was co-sponsored by fourteen other Democrats, all liberals, all anti-war. In the end, even Rangel voted against his own bill, and it went down in flames. That was 2004, and no similar measures have been considered since.
Meanwhile, the news media was trying to fan the flames of the draft fear. CBS News (if you can call it that) ran a story on Beverly Cocco, who was portrayed as a typical suburban mom. In fact, she was even portrayed as a Republican who was considering voting for the Democrats on the basis of the ficticicuous draft "issue". They failed to mention that Beverly is the Philadelphia affiliate for "People Against the Draft", a "peace" group that seeks to sew the fear of a draft in the populace in hopes of turning public opinion against the war. And she's a Republican? Somehow I doubt that.
Still, the CBS report made the not-so-subtle insinuation that vote for the Democrats was a vote against
a draft. Meanwhile, Representaive Rangel and his fourteen Democrat sidekicks were pushing their bill through committee, only to vote against it when it finally got to the House floor. What's going on here?
You might wonder why a draft might benefit the "anti-war" Left. Aren't they completely opposed to such a thing? The short answer to that question is no, not really. It's their number one scare tactic. It's their trump fear card. When they're out on the street with their "No Draft No Way!" signs, their purpose is not oppose a draft. Their purpose is to deceive the public into believing that a draft is coming and they have to do something--vote against Bush, march against the war--to avoid impending doom. There is no crebible evidence that a draft is coming, but that never stopped them before.
The unpopularity of the draft was a major factor is our defeat in the Vietnam War. The Left found a lot of support for the "anti-war" movement on college campuses; not because the students were honestly opposed to the war, but because they knew that they (or their brothers, boyfriends, etc.) could be drafted the second that their student deferment expired.
Writers such as David Horowitz have written about the loss of momentum the Left experienced when the draft was ended and the drawdown of US troops in Vietnam began. The hard Left believed that the US still provided ample reasons for protest--even for armed struggle--but they saw their support sliding away beneath them. The core of the movement had been young people whose only concern had been avoiding the draft, and seeing their friends and families do the same. Without that threat hanging over their heads, they weren't such enthusiastic Leftists anymore, and most went on to live ordinary, middle-class lives.
Don't fool yourself. The Left would love
a draft in the United States. It would lead to a revolt in the streets that would bring this war, this president, and possibly this nation to the ground. All three of these are goals of the Left. Wisely, the government has denied them the most powerful tool the Left can use to achieve these goals--the "fear card" known as the draft.
The City of San Francisco, for example, recently voted to keep military recruiters out of city schools in an initiative they call "College, not combat". The initiative is non-binding, of course, because schools have to allow the recruiters in their schools if they want to continue to receive funds from the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA). So the decision was entirely symbolic.
Nonetheless, it was spearheaded by a number of radical, "anti-war", anti-military entities. The slogans of "College not combat" include "An Army of None" and "Don't Die for Recruiters' Lies". Among them, there seems to be a split--those who demand immiediate retreat from Iraq, and those who want to undermine the military recruiters so much that the government is forced to institute a draft. As counter-recruitment activist April Owens said "When the soldiers are really hurting because there are no new recruits, then we're getting somewhere."
April Owens is more candid than most Leftists I've talked to. At least she will admit what I've always known--it's not that the Left is angry because the war is going badly, they're angry because it's going too well. Hence, they do everything they can to make sure it turns out to be the nightmare that they want it to be; that way, Americans will learn "the lessons of Iraq" the same way that we learned "the lessons of Vietnam". In case you were wondering, only Leftists/liberals are allowed to determine what those lessons are, and high-browed history teachers will be teaching those "lessons" to your children and grandchildren for years to come.
So that's the tactic of the counterrecruitment movement: starve the Imperialistic War Machine (the IWM; that's our country, and it's military, by the way) to death by taking away its most precious resource--recruits. Fewer recruits mean that those already serving will have to serve longer and more tours (recall April Owens's comment When the soldiers are really hurting because there are no new recruits, then we're getting somewhere
). Long tours mean that those soldiers will be more likely to die in combat, or will have a large negtive impact on their moral. More disgruntled soldiers mean more soldiers joining "anti-war" movements, more soldiers deserting to Canada, and fewer soldiers reenlisting. More soldiers in the "anti-war" movement, more soldiers deserting to Canada, and fewer soldier reenlisting turns public opinion against the war. And fewer soldier reenlisting will inevitably be covered by the press, making potentional recruits wonder why people aren't reenlisting, and make them reconsider joining in the first place. Once again, this leads to fewer soldiers. And the cycle goes on.
This is exactly the tactic of the Left. And they hope that in the end, the IWM will be forced, because of lack of recruits, to institutue a draft. This would play right into the hands of the "anti-war" movement , and they're dissapointed (but not yet discouraged) that something like that hasn't happened.
Lacking an actual draft, they complain about the "economic draft" and the "back-door draft", both of which are inventions of a left-wing movement that has to make up phantom "drafts" because they can't seem to force a real one.
The draft is the Left's number one fear tactic. Fear of terrorism is the Right's "fear tactic". One difference between the Right and the Left, is that the Left's fear tactic is completely unfounded, where as the Right's is just common sense. The other difference between the two is that the Right actually hopes to thwart terrorism, and it's record of success thusfar works in their favor, while the Left secretly dreams at night of eighteen year old girls getting their draft notices in the mail.